TORONTO -- The Blue Jays used an 18-10 record in May to turn their season around and get back to respectability. June hasn't been nearly as kind.Toronto dropped to 6-8 this month following a 5-2 loss to the White Sox on Saturday afternoon. The record is hardly the end of
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays used an 18-10 record in May to turn their season around and get back to respectability. June hasn't been nearly as kind.
Toronto dropped to 6-8 this month following a 5-2 loss to the White Sox on Saturday afternoon. The record is hardly the end of the world, but it has been a frustrating stretch for a team that appeared to be on the verge of making up serious ground in the standings.
The success in May came largely without the services of Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, J.A. Happ, Francisco Liriano and Aaron Sanchez. Almost all of those players are back, but instead of turning that into a run, the Blue Jays have been sort of stuck in the middle.
"The mentality hasn't changed, we're good," said right-hander Marcus Stroman, who took the loss on Saturday after allowing three runs over seven innings. "I'm sure we'll rattle off 10 in a row here soon. Nothing changes from the group. We realize we're going to go through stretches like this and that's why we stay confident day in and day out."
The Blue Jays are 0-7 in games that would have evened their record at .500, and five of those games have come over the last two-plus weeks. They aren't exactly floundering with just a pair of back-to-back losses this month, but to date, they have yet to take the next step.
A lack of offense is one reason -- scoring three runs or fewer in eight June games. The Blue Jays lost all but one of those contests, however the recent problems run a little bit deeper than that. The bullpen has continued to be overworked with struggles of late from the normally reliable Marco Estrada and Joe Biagini causing some issues.
Then there was Saturday's loss when the Blue Jays committed three errors in a game for the third time this season. One proved quite costly as Donaldson booted a ball in the eighth with two outs, which allowed an unearned run to score. Donaldson made another error earlier and Aaron Loup threw a ball down the first-base line in what turned out to be a pretty sloppy game.
"Those are physical errors, not mental errors," manager John Gibbons said. "We booted a couple of balls and Loup's ball was running into a fast runner. They happen sometimes. You don't like it, but they happen."
Another issue has been the number of double plays the Blue Jays' offense has hit into this year, with two more on Saturday, including Ryan Goins in the seventh inning with the potential tying run on second. The double plays were Nos. 71 and 72, which ranks second most in the Majors behind Boston's 73.
Two games under .500 in June is not something the Blue Jays are going to be overly concerned about. It's a tough stretch in the midst of a long season, but for a team that almost buried itself in the standings during the early stages of the season, it also can ill afford a lengthy dry spell.
"Baseball's not a sport where you just go out and outpower somebody," Gibbons said. "If they throw a good game, pitch a good game against you, things are tough, that's just the way it is. It's not like a big physical sport where the bigger, faster guys are going to dominate."
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.